I get a lot of questions about how to sit properly without putting pressure on your core or diastasis, or making your hips feel worse.
So today I want to share how to sit for optimum core & hip health.
Optimal sitting comes down to maintaining proper alignment in your pelvis. When you come out of neutral alignment, either by tucking or untucking your pelvis too much, you put extra pressure on your core and hips. This can exacerbate core weakness and hip pain.
So, how do you maintain a proper pelvis position while sitting?
We’ll cover three things today:
- Sitting in a chair
- Sitting on the floor while playing with your kids
- Relaxing on the couch
Sitting In A Chair
When sitting in a chair, you want to:
- Sit directly on your sit bones,
- Use back support, and,
- Place feet flat on the floor, hip width apart.
Find your sit bones.
When bending over slightly from standing, the sit bones ( Ischial tuberosities) are the bones that you feel protruding slightly from your bottom. You want to make sure that when you sit in a chair, the sit bones are directly on the chair. That will help you know you have a neutral pelvis position.
If you untuck your pelvis, the sit bones will be lifting up off the chair in the back. If you tuck our pelvis, the sit bones will still be on the chair, but we’ll also be sitting more on our tailbone.
You want to avoid those two extremes and find a neutral pelvis by sitting directly on the sit bones. I find this is easiest to find at the front of the chair.
Once you’ve found it, slide your body back on the chair so that your back is fully supported.
Back support is important because it allows you to maintain proper alignment for longer periods of time.
Not all chairs have great back support though (e.g. couches, seats in the car). For those situations, grab a small hand towel or small pillow. Roll it up and slide it behind your low back. It will help keep you in a relatively neutral spine and pelvis position.
Feet on Floor
If possible, try to place your feet flat on the floor, hip width apart.
If you are short, this can be challenging! Placing some yoga blocks under your feet can help you maintain alignment by bringing the floor closer to you.
Sitting On The Floor To Play
Many of us moms spend a lot of time sitting on the floor playing with our kids. Many of us default to a criss-cross applesauce position but, unless you have extremely open hips, it is hard to sit in this position without significantly tucking our pelvis under. As I’ve mentioned, this throws our body out of alignment and puts pressure on our weak core.
So, what other positions can we find?
I find the best tool for sitting on the floor is a yoga block. A yoga block opens up your position options.
(Watch the video for examples of these positions)
You can sit on the block with your feet on the floor (like the block is a low chair).
Or, bend your knees so that the lower legs are near the block and your feet are pointing backward.
Or sit cross-legged on the block.
You can slide yourself up against a wall for more back support in any of these positions.
When it comes to sitting on the floor, change position often!
You don’t want to sit in the same way all the time. The body is made to do lots of different types of movement.
Sitting While Relaxing
Often when I talk about this topic I get the question… “Can I never chill out on the couch and watch a movie?”
Relaxation is very important for the body. So when you want to chill out, do it!
But let’s set you up so that you relax in a way that is best for your body.
Don’t Get Sucked Into The Couch!
Couches often suck our lower body in resulting in a tucked pelvis and squashed abdominal area. So, just like in a chair, get a towel or small pillow and put it behind your low back. This will help keep your pelvis neutral and prevent you from collapsing into the couch.
Support Your Head
One thing that can help with relaxation is to place a pillow behind your head. This can allow more of the upper body muscles to relax.
Another option, lie down! Laying (on the couch or floor) is a great way to allow all the muscles to relax without putting any extra pressure on the core muscles or hips.
There you have it!
Ways to sit and relax that will keep your body happy.
Please know: It’s never going to be perfect! Don’t freak out if you end up somewhere and your feet are dangling or you have no back support. The body can handle that every once in a while. We are simply trying to replace some of our “bad” patterns with more “good” patterns.